Iowa State’s Joel Lanning garnered much of the spotlight, and deservedly so.
The redshirt senior, who played linebacker and subbed in at quarterback in certain formations, aided the Cyclones in a 38-31 road win over then No. 3 Oklahoma in Big 12 Conference play on Saturday.
Lanning finished the game with eight tackles, one sack and also recovered a key fumble, which helped him garner Defensive Player of the Week honors from the conference Monday.
But there was another big-time performance from another senior: quarterback Kyle Kempt, who may have been the key to the upset over the Sooners.
The 6-foot-5 signal caller’s 343 yards, three touchdowns, including the game-winning 25-yard score, and zero interceptions were the story of the night, but it’s his perseverance which brought him to that stage and allowed him to will Iowa State state to victory.
“Kyle has been one of those guys that’s been a steady force as we’ve really tried to change the culture of the program,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said during Monday’s Big 12 media teleconference. “I think what you saw on Saturday was a result of his work ethic, who he is and who he’s been for the last year and a half since he’s been here on our campus. He’s a been a huge reason behind the scenes of why the culture of this program is changing in a real positive way.”
Before his first career start and breakout performance in Norman, Okla., Kempt had thrown two career passes for 15 yards and run for seven back in 2016 with Iowa State.
Prior to his Cyclones’ tenure, Kempt bounced around the country following a high school career at Massillon Washington in Ohio.
After his preps career, Kempt — who was recruited by Campbell, a Massillon native, during his tenure at Toledo — verbally committed to Cincinnati but changed plans when Butch Jones accepted the Tennessee gig.
Kempt ended up at Oregon State for two years until he transferred to Hutchinson Community College, where he didn’t garner any playing time and decided to call Campbell, who went from Toledo to Iowa State, and attempt to walk-on with Cyclones (3-2, 1-1).
The phone call turned out to be in the best interest of both parties as Kempt helped the Cyclones defeat the Sooners (4-1, 1-1) in the school’s second ever top-5 victory.
“I reached out to him right away, and just said, ‘Hey, listen. I’d love to have ya,” Campbell recalled. “Really don’t know a lot about our quarterback situation. But I think it would be a great spot for you. He had enough faith to come with us and I’m just really glad he has.”
Iowa State hosts Kansas (1-4, 0-2) at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Hasty, Williams should be back
Baylor got some good news to start the week.
Head coach Matt Rhule disclosed that running backs JaMychal Hasty and Terrence Williams are expected to play this weekend against Oklahoma State.
Hasty, who was sidelined with an MCL sprain he suffered in a season-opening loss to Liberty, has been credited with 56 rushing yards and one touchdown until he went down with the injury.
“As of today, we think he’s going to play,” Rhule said Monday during the Big 12 media teleconference. “He got some limited reps last week. We’ll give him some more reps this week and see how he responds.”
Despite speculation that Williams had been dismissed from the team a week ago, according to the Waco Tribune Herald, Rhule said the junior held a meeting with the team’s leadership council and agreed to give him a second chance. Williams has carried the ball 22 times for 53 yards.
Following an upset win over the then No. 3-ranked Sooners, the Iowa State football team had two players nominated for Big 12 weekly awards.
Quarterback Kyle Kempt and linebacker Joel Lanning were selected at the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively. Texas Tech running back Desmond Nisby and TCU punter Adam Nunez rounded out the group as Newcomer and Special Teams Player of the Week.
Kept, a walk-on senior, threw for 343 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions to lead the Cyclones to a 38-31 road victory over Oklahoma. Lanning notched eight tackles, one sack and recovered a key fumble that powered Iowa State to its second top-5 victory in program history.
Nisby, a junior college transfer, ran for a career-high 93 yards and four touchdowns — the most by a Big 12 player this season — as Texas Tech defeated Kansas 65-19 in a road victory.
Nunez punted the ball seven times for an average of 43 yards, while pinning West Virginia inside the 6-yard line four times in the first half. The sophomore also recorded a season-long, 51-yard punt in the Horned Frogs’ win.
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